Samantha Guz interviews Peggy Tarr on Underground Routes.RoundTable photo

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RoundTable columnist, artist, community activist, advocate for youth, and long-time Evanston resident Peggy Tarr was a guest on the podcast “Underground Routes” on March 19 at the Chicago Avenue/Main Street Branch of the Evanston Public Library. Interviewed by cohost Samantha Guz, a social worker in Chicago, Ms. Tarr described formative years in Freehold, N.J., her education, and her life and advocacy in Evanston.

Her mother, Ms. Tarr said, always treated people fairly and with respect, “but she didn’t hesitate to tell people if she thought they were doing something wrong.” With two older sisters, a strong mother, and a community of caring people, Ms. Tarr said, “My sense of being female was based on the women and men who spoke up for me. … They were all interested in us. They wanted us to be good people.”

Ms. Tarr feels that many young people in Evanston today do not grow up in that type of nurturing environment. “Kids don’t feel loved or valued. … A lot of adults are not very mature and don’t understand what it means to be a parent. …The kids I work with show me how much I had when I was growing up,” she said.

Noting that empathy and compassion are hallmarks of Ms. Tarr’s life, Ms. Guz asked how those could be taught. They can be modeled rather than taught, Ms. Tarr said. “It doesn’t take a lot of energy to have compassion,” she added.

Underground Routes “highlights, the lives, experiences, wisdom, and scholarship of self-identifying women and non-gender-conforming individuals. [The] work centers on the stories and narratives of women, with the ultimate goal of providing a platform for the work of marginalized individuals.”

The podcast will be available via YouTube shortly.